Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Submission Summary: 0 pending, 17 declined, 6 accepted (23 total, 26.09% accepted)

DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Rogers ISP MITM process detailed

knorthern knight writes: Lee Brotherston gives a talk about how his ISP deliberately MiTM’d his connection. This talk discusses how they did it, how he detected what they did and what this means. This talk covers what he learnt over three months of analysis focusing on the technology involved both on the ISP side and his own. He covers in detail how he went about identifying and mapping the ISPs hidden network components and how they modify IP connections. He briefly covers what this means to customers of their service, and provides technical evidence as well as a walk through how he used open source tools to unmask this Corp In The Middle attack. The slides used for the presentation are available at

Submission + - RSS satellite data; No global warming for 17 years

knorthern knight writes: James Hansen, in a 1988 speech speech to the US Congress, claimed that 10 years of rising temperatures proved that the earth was warming. But in 2008, a 10 year pause was not considered sufficient to show that it had stopped. In a 2011 news release Ben Santer said a minimum 17 year pause was required before claiming that it was more than statistical noise. The November 4 update of RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) monthly temperature anomalies to the end of October shows that over a 204 month period (Nov 1996 to Oct 2013) there has been no warming. Indeed, the slope is very slightly negative for that period. A more detailed story at skeptical site

Submission + - Same programs + Different computers = Different weather forecasts (

knorthern knight writes: Most major weather services (US NWS, Britain's Met Office, etc) have their own supercomputers, and their own weather models. But there are some models which are used globally. A new paper has been published, comparing outputs from one such program on different machines around the world. Apparently, the same code, running on different machines, can produce different outputs due to accumulation of differing round-off errors. The handling of floating-point numbers in computing is a field in its own right

The paper apparently deals with 10-day weather forecasts. Weather forecasts are generally done in steps of 1 hour. I.e. the output from hour 1 is used as the starting condition for the hour 2 forecast. The output from hour 2 is used as the starting condition for hour 3, etc.

The paper is paywalled, but the abstract at says...

The global model program (GMP) of the Global/Regional Integrated Model system (GRIMs) is tested on 10 different computer systems having different central processing unit (CPU) architectures or compilers. There exist differences in the results for different compilers, parallel libraries, and optimization levels, primarily due to the treatment of rounding errors by the different software systems. The system dependency, which is the standard deviation of the 500-hPa geopotential height averaged over the globe, increases with time. However, its fractional tendency, which is the change of the standard deviation relative to the value itself, remains nearly zero with time. In a seasonal prediction framework, the ensemble spread due to the differences in software system is comparable to the ensemble spread due to the differences in initial conditions that is used for the traditional ensemble forecasting.

Submission + - Leap second on June 30th (

knorthern knight writes: The second used to be defined as 1/86,400 th of a 24-hour day. But ocean tides, pounding against shorelines, slow down earth's rotation, so that a day gets 1.4 milliseconds longer each century. This seems small, but it would affect scientific constants (speed of light, etc). Since 1967, the International System of Units (SI) has defined the second as the duration of 9192631770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the caesium-133 atom. Every few years, a "leap second" is added as necessary, either on June 30th or December 31st. Enjoy that extra second of sleep.

Submission + - Canadian agency investigates US aircrash (

knorthern knight writes: When 2 light civilian planes collide in US airspace in Virginia, the usual response includes calling in the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) to investigate and make recommendations based on their results. But what do you do when the crash involves two planes piloted by a crash investigator with the FAA and the chief medical officer with the NTSB? In order to avoid conflict of interest by American investigators working for these agencies, the investigation has been turned over to to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada as a neutral 3rd party.
The Internet

Submission + - Some mobile phones give out phone # when surfing (

knorthern knight writes: Story at says that
* SOME "medium-price-ranged" phones need a Web proxy to reformat Web pages for their smaller displays.
* The cellphone service provider's web proxy modifies the outgoing HTTP-headers to include unique identifiers such as the International Mobile Subscriber Identity number, customer account numbers and — most troubling — the actual mobile phone numbers.
* the webserver can log this info, and data-mine it. The possibilities are endless.
* Amongst the cellphone providers doing this are Orange (UK) and Rogers (Canada)


Submission + - NASA scientist says jail global warming skeptics

knorthern knight writes: "From the In-Soviet-Amerika-Hansen-supresses-YOU department; Dr. James Hansen, NASA's global warming cheerleader who whines about being supressed by the government, apparently feels no compunction about supressing others who disagree with him. In an article in the Guardian and an interview on WAMU radio, available in Realplayer and Windows Media formats, Dr. Hansen "will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.""

Submission + - Warming supporters make BBC change climate article (

knorthern knight writes: "The Register has an article about how a global warming true believer pressured the BBC into changing the title and text of an article, which quotes the secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization as saying that 2008 will be cooler globally than 2009. Seems that was too much for the true believers.

Here is the story as reported by the woman who pressured the BBC to change their article.

Here is the story from a global-warming-skeptic-website complete with "before and after" snapshots of the article.

Regardless of which side you're on, censorship like this is wrong. How about issuing a rebuttal instead?"


Submission + - Bell Canada Throttles Wholesalers Without Notice (

knorthern knight writes: "Users of the Canadian family-run ISP Teksavvy (which is popular amongst Canadian P2P users precisely because it does *NOT* throttle P2P) have started noticing that Bell Canada is throttling traffic before it reaches wholesale partners. According to Teksavvy CEO Rocky Gaudrault, Bell has implemented "load balancing" to "manage bandwidth demand" during peak congestion times — but apparently didn't feel the need to inform partner ISPs or customers. The result is a bevy of annoyed customers and carriers across the great white north. Story at"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - 2007 was 2nd or 5th or 8th warmest year on record?

knorthern knight writes: "From the How-warm-would-you-like-it-to-be department; 3 groups of climete experts with 3 different opinions as to how 2007 ranked in terms of warmest years on record.

2007 Was Tied as Earth's Second-Warmest Year
Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City have found that 2007 tied with 1998 for Earth's second warmest year in a century.

2007 was Tenth Warmest for U.S., Fifth Warmest Worldwide
January 15, 2008
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. in 2007 is officially the tenth warmest on record, according to data from scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The agency also determined the global surface temperature last year was the fifth warmest on record.

Another warm year as Bali conference ends
13 December 2007
The Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia have today released preliminary global temperature figures for 2007, which show that the top 11 warmest years all occur in the last 13 years.

The provisional global figure, using data from January to November, currently places 2007 as the seventh warmest on record since 1850. (Update... due to a cool December, the data set at University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit shows 2007 as the eighth warmest on record, just .006 C lower than 2001)"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Canadian Mint claims IP rights to words "one c 1

knorthern knight writes: A weird intersection of copyright/trademark with Canadian politics. Short background. Various Canadian cities and municipalities have launched a publicity/lobbying campaign seeking a fixed take from the GST (Goods and Services Tax, a national Canadian sales tax similar to European VAT). The amount sought is 1 cent for each dollar of the purchase price. This is summarized by the slogan "One Cent of the GST NOW". Acoording to this press release, the Royal Canadian Mint (the federal agency that prints Canadian paper currency and stamps Canadian coins) has demanded royalties for use of the phrase "one cent", and the image of the Canadian penny. The Royal Canadian Mint, a corporation of the federal government, has now demanded that the City of Toronto pay $47,680 for the public education campaign. Included in this amount is a request for $10,000 for the use of the words "one cent" in the campaign website address ( and the campaign email address (, and an additional $10,000 for the use of the words "one cent" in the campaign phone number (416-ONE CENT). The remaining $27,680 has been assessed against the City for the use of the image of the Canadian penny in printed materials such as pins and posters.

Submission + - Unintended Consequences of Rogers' Packet Shaping

knorthern knight writes: "To counter P2P programs that encrypt their traffic to evade detection, Rogers Cable in Canada has apparently started throttling ALL ENCRYPTED IP TRAFFIC, according to this article on Michael Geist's blog. How many of you log in to work over a VPN or ssh-tunnel? How many get usenet news, or email over an encrypted connection. This could be a problem for Rogers Cable customers. Michael Geist, who happens to be the "Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law" at U of Ottawa, has "been advised that the University computer help desk has received a steady stream of complaints from Rogers customers about off-campus email service.""

Submission + - TV DRM freezes LG TV sets in Australia

knorthern knight writes: "According to this story, tens of thousands of LG customers [ in Australia ] will require a software upgrade for their televisions after the company identified the cause of a mystery glitch that is causing them to freeze. LG says it will need to send technicians to every affected home to perform a "simple software upgrade" but will not be in a position to begin the mammoth task for at least a week.

Several readers of the website have written in speculating that the malfunction was caused by Channel Nine switching on encryption — to prevent copying — when screening shows in the high definition (HD) or wide screen formats. This could explain why many readers who reported experiencing the glitch said it happened when they were watching prime time programs broadcast in the HD format, such as CSI."

Submission + - CRB moves to destroy Internet Music radio in USA

knorthern knight writes: "...and the rest of the world is probably next as the RIAA pressures politicians worldwide to "harmonize their policies" with the US. The United States Copyright Royalty Board has basically accepted the big business position, and raised internet radio royalty rates to punitive, indeed destructive levels. Some details are at Broadcast Law Blog. The implications are discussed in more detail at the Save Internet Radio website. To summarize, nobody but the biggies can afford it. Note that these royalties are *IN ADDITION TO* ASCAP/SESAC/BMI royalties that terrestrial radio stations pay. Terrestrial radio will *NOT* have to pay these additional royalties, unless they stream their feeds over the internet."

Submission + - Deadman's switch in Windows Vista

knorthern knight writes: "Some people fear a remotely invoked "kill switch" in Microsoft products. In the past you could play safe by not connecting to the internet, and MS wouldn't be able to shut you down. What if Vista had to occasionally connect to the mothership, and request permission to continue functioning? And if it couldn't connect, it would cease functioning. If you don't believe me, check out Microsoft's EULAs
Product Name: Windows Vista
Version: Home Basic
Language: English
Page 2 of that pdf, paragraph 4 talks about mandatory activation. If it was a one-shot deal, I wouldn't have a problem. **BUT*** paragraph 5 says...
a. The software will from time to time validate the software, update or require download of the validation feature of the software.

and if it isn't allowed to connect to the mothership...

c. If, after a validation check, the software is found not to be properly licensed, the functionality of the software may be affected. For example, you may
* need to reactivate the software, or
* receive reminders to obtain a properly licensed copy of the software, or you may not be able to use or continue to use some of the features of the software

OK, so you're the Chairman in China, or the President of France. From a national security POV, do you *REALLY* want a situation where the vast majority of PCs in your country have to call home to the USA, and beg for permission to continue operating? Not to mention that there are probably some PCs with sensitive information that should never connect to the net in the first place."

Slashdot Top Deals

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982